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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

Mailbag: “Where’s the ‘Bone’ Doctor”

March 25, 2008

Dear Michael,

Story: We once had a choral/orchestral director, John Coleman. Every concert/recital was a fete of artistic virtuosity - even the Christmas Easter presentations –the patrons left feeling awed. Unfortunately, they did not leave from the concerts happy, smiling or singing. Even the Christmas concert had no sing-alongs or traditional Christmas melodies. So one year he was informed his contract would not be renewed.
As a long-time listener to pipe dreams, I am awed by the instruments, artists and music on the show –when I happen to catch it, that is. I am so awed I seldom listen any more. Perhaps you need to google Chaz Bender or The Bone Doctor or Dick Smith. Is your audience growing? Perhaps you take pride in your artistry and sophistication, but if every third show does not feature Theatre Organs, you are frankly missing the fun that your audience tuned in to hear.




Thanks for your note. It is a dilemma…since the program was begun with the intention of providing some outlet for the variety of repertoire of the ‘classical’ pipe organ (there are no others, really, in national syndication in the USA), much as SymphonyCast is a program devoted to the classical music played by the world’s great symphony orchestras. Unlike SymphonyCast, which does not include ‘easy listening’, ‘light music’, ‘pops’ repertoire or jazz in its programming, PIPEDREAMS has opened its arms/heart/ears to the theater organ (and jazz, too), realizing that for some the theater organ represents the ‘best’ of all organ music, and that others think the theater organ is ‘cheap trash’. Personally, I enjoy theater organ, and am amazed and delighted by the general quality of musicianship represented in that field. But I also enjoy the classical organ, and since that is what PIPEDREAMS set out to represent, I expect that the balance of material is likely to remain more or less as you are experiencing it (or not) now. Perhaps a bit less awe is due to those classical musicians you have heard, and more simple appreciation for what they accomplish (in energy, in finesse, in expressivity) in the musical styles with which they are engaged. All of organ music deserves your involvement. Apparently Chaz Bender, The Bone Doctor and Dick Smith do not need any further promotion through PIPEDREAMS…but many other worthy (wonderful, even awesome) musicians do.





Thank you for your consideration of my persepctive. I also appreciate your taking the time for a thoughtful articulation of your views on the subject.
Sincerely, R. Detjen


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